A rough, bruising dialectic | VailDaily.com

A rough, bruising dialectic

Don Rogers

Lest anyone is fooled, Kaye Ferry doesn’t really know what Vail Resorts will do with Merchant Pass pricing this year.

She’s speculating, and rather uncharitably at that. Such is the realm of commentary, where the division between an opinion about one thinks might be happening and the reality of it are often two very different things. The only fact here is that Ferry, lashing out at a suggestion she’s adding fuel to the notion Front Range skiers are not so welcome in town, took some shots at Vail Resorts chief Adam Aron.

She insinuated that Aron called her on her recent quotes in the Denver media because he is planning to raise local ski pass prices. Somehow, asking Ferry to be a bit more discriminate with her words was just a cover for yet another dark evil VR plan to … what? Ferry’s logic here is wanting.

The truth as we know it is that Vail Resorts has not made any decisions about pricing for the Merchant Pass. Ferry is dead wrong to imply she knows something even Vail Resorts doesn’t at this point.

But such is the overheated rhetoric that sometimes bubbles up out of Vail, and whose blessing is that it tends to animate worthy discussions the community might otherwise not think about, much less talk about.

Of course, we at the Daily aid and abet these at-times heated discussions by running columns by people with, gasp, strong and sometimes harsh opinions.

Ironically enough, the same sort of argument against giving Ferry space lines up with her own complaints about Tipsline: They’re mean, they can get personal. A difference, maybe the only real difference, is Ferry lets you know who’s doing the talking.

The targets of her vitriol naturally are less than pleased. That’s a price of public service, as it has always been. If anything, modernday public figures have a much easier time of it than they once did when it comes to pithy criticism.

Aron, arguably the single most powerful person in the valley by dint of his position, understands he’s under constant scrutiny and the subject of much speculation. It’s part of the job.

He does object to having his motives and veracity questioned, and we can sympathize. Come to think of it, Ferry doesn’t like her motives or veracity questioned, either, though that has hardly slowed her from calling out others in the public eye.

Providing a forum for Ferry and others with such strident views in these pages – bringing the discussion off the street where more people can witness, digest, and participate in it – provides a target-rich environment for our critics.

Allowing people to more or less speak freely, if at times unkindly and even illogically vs. dampening opinions to only the most polite, high-minded and “logical” expression. Free wheeling vs. tightly controlled. What’s the best course for a paper’s opinion section?

It would be nice if Ferry at least stuck to what she thought she knew rather than flying off with worst suspicions. But the reality of this and other bits of speculation will become apparent soon enough. And it will be telling how she deals with being, well, wrong.

We do expect that our readers – as sophisticated as any in the country – can discern commentary from the news columns. These are opinion pages, after all.

The relative silence that greets opinion sections in which anything that might be “objectionable” is carefully screened out offers compelling evidence that a paper’s mission to help engage readers in public discussion is not served this way.

A section that more closely reflects how people actually think and feel can be very aggravating. But the rough, even bruising dialectic of real public discourse not only livens these pages, but scratches closer to the truth and even better public decisions in the end.

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